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Browns deny they nearly drafted Teddy Bridgewater

manziel AP

As the Browns continue to strenuously object to any story suggesting that owner Jimmy Haslam made the call to draft Johnny Manziel, there’s a new report saying the team was just seconds away from selecting Teddy Bridgewater instead.

That report comes from longtime Browns reporter Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, who cites an unnamed source as saying that the Browns filled out a card with Bridgewater’s name on it and were about to hand it in as their official pick in the draft. And then, according to that source, Haslam ordered them to change the name on the card to Johnny Manziel.

The Browns strenuously deny that.

“That is not true,” Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert said. “I was in the draft room. That didn’t happen.”

Browns head coach Mike Pettine told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the report is “beyond laughable.”

And Haslam said General Manager Ray Farmer “made the trade, picked Johnny Manziel. There’s no doubt that Ray makes those calls.”

It’s not hard to believe that Haslam told his football people that he personally preferred Manziel over Bridgewater, but it’s extremely hard to believe that Haslam would wait until the Browns were on the clock and had already written another player’s name on the card to order them to draft Manziel instead. That would be as crazy as taking draft advice from a homeless guy.

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81 Responses to “Browns deny they nearly drafted Teddy Bridgewater”
  1. NoWearMan says: May 12, 2014 1:04 PM

    Grossi still grinding that axe.

  2. h3min1230 says: May 12, 2014 1:04 PM

    If they were smart they’d flip that extra 1st next year for a proven WR now.

  3. thepftpoet says: May 12, 2014 1:04 PM

    It’s too bad they didn’t.

    Teddy Bridgewater will be a top 5 QB this year.

    No other QB in this draft has the accuracy, poise and intangibles that Bridgewater has.

    He’s a all-pro / Super Bowl MVP in the making.

    Skol Vikings!

  4. fground says: May 12, 2014 1:05 PM

    wait I saw Draft Day – so I know this kind of thing happens.

    Yes – I’m being facetious and yes I am embarrassed that I saw Draft Day.

  5. balsagna says: May 12, 2014 1:06 PM

    It’s almost like in today’s day and age that when someone goes on the record and denies the allegations, that we still go with these rumor mill stories that originate from someone’s basement via twitter. It’s funny, regardless of the truth it’s still written in a tone that paints the Browns as a joke. They literally can not win.

  6. jbaxt says: May 12, 2014 1:06 PM

    Now we’ll see if Farmer has the same expectations as he had from Printers in KC, you know, changing the browns from their current state of Chicken Sh&t into Chicken Salad.

  7. thepftpoet says: May 12, 2014 1:08 PM

    I told everyone single one of you PFT readers since the end of the college football season that Teddy Bridgewater was coming to Minnesota – and I was absolutely correct.

    This wasn’t random.. It was destiny.

    Teddy Bridgewater is hands down the best QB in the draft and his lackluster pro day was the only thing that brought it down, which Norv Turner completely fixed in his private workout.

    He’s by far the best college QB on tape, and will dominate in the NFL.

    I can already see the purple & gold confetti falling.

    Super Bowl here we come!

  8. doubleogator says: May 12, 2014 1:11 PM

    Have to be careful not to bruise anybody’s ego…

  9. 700levelvet says: May 12, 2014 1:11 PM

    Hell… Haslam seems such an upstanding guy… As classy as it gets … No way this happened , and no way he’s part of the denial if it did happen

    Drip
    Drip

  10. qdog112 says: May 12, 2014 1:12 PM

    I’m almost certain they wanted Bridgewater, but Haslem had other ideas. Some his own, some THC induced and others from his new friend under the bridge. (Or was he hallucinating?)

    First I thought it was a bad idea to draft Manziel, but he and Haslem deserve each other.

  11. peopletrains says: May 12, 2014 1:12 PM

    I think Bridgewater will be decent. However, I don’t think he will develop fast enough or become good enough for Adrian Peterson to want to stick around.

  12. jusford says: May 12, 2014 1:13 PM

    The unamed source is in connection with the Vikings. Trying to smooth over the fact they tried to trade back up to get Manziel and have Bridewater feel that he was wanted.

  13. thegreatgabbert says: May 12, 2014 1:13 PM

    Roger Goodell was wondering why the card said. “Cleveland drafts quarterback Johnny Manziel, University of Lousiville.”.

  14. In Teddy We Trust says: May 12, 2014 1:13 PM

    I don’t believe that story for one second. Nevertheless, I believe the day will come when they wish they would have selected Teddy Touchdown.

  15. kd75 says: May 12, 2014 1:14 PM

    Manziel has already paid his way in season tix and jersey sales.

  16. blantoncollier says: May 12, 2014 1:15 PM

    Grossi being Grossi. He wants full access to the team, when he is denied he tries to make them look bad. Still mad that Lerner/Holmgren got him fired from the PD.

  17. t8ertot says: May 12, 2014 1:16 PM

    Who cares. The draft is always the browns Super Bowl. Give it a few weeks into the regular season and they’ll come back to earth

  18. denverbronconj says: May 12, 2014 1:19 PM

    Given that they spent a $100,000 analytics report that said Bridgewater was the best one, it’s not surprising that this possibly happened. Why would you spend a lot of money on a report and not abide by its conclusions? Picking Manziel was a PR movement just like Tebow was hired by the Jets to sell jerseys.

  19. jacobslatter says: May 12, 2014 1:19 PM

    Buyer’s remorse already?

  20. TheDPR says: May 12, 2014 1:23 PM

    Poor Cleveland.

  21. crownofthehelmet says: May 12, 2014 1:25 PM

    Seeing how your $100K QB Study concluded Bridgewater was the pick, you’d be dumb not to consider him.

  22. batard says: May 12, 2014 1:27 PM

    Stranger things have happened in Cleveland, but Grossi is about as credible as my left sock.

  23. golforepar says: May 12, 2014 1:38 PM

    When the Brown heard of the Vikings interest, Bridewater was crossed off their list of QBs!

  24. whatjusthapped says: May 12, 2014 1:38 PM

    There is no guaranteed franchise QB in this year’s draft. As close as you will come to a guarantee is this, whoever the Vikings draft at QB will be a bust.

    Just look at their history.

  25. jerruhjones says: May 12, 2014 1:41 PM

    No one wanted Bridgewater except for the Vikes…pick #32 proved that!

  26. ragnarthemagnificent says: May 12, 2014 1:42 PM

    Leave it to Cleveland to botch their QB pick. Why have a 100k study and then pick the “other guy”? Thanks for doing the study, we’ll take your guy and make him our franchise QB! Vikings never wanted Manziel or they wouldn’t have brought in Bwater 4 times. Skol!#Factoryoftouchdowns

  27. heymister24 says: May 12, 2014 1:45 PM

    I am still wonderin’ who hid bridgewater’s glove for pro day.

  28. heymister24 says: May 12, 2014 1:50 PM

    The $100K study ended a day before gloveless ted bridgewater’s pro day, or at least that’s the rumor.

  29. Brown Anchor says: May 12, 2014 1:54 PM

    unnamed source = rumor mill

  30. wabbitslayer says: May 12, 2014 2:19 PM

    It is within the realm of possibility that the Browns looked at Bridgewater so hard because they knew they weren’t taking any QB with their first pick and really didn’t think Manziel would still be on the board when they picked again…but when he was, they took him.

  31. bmore44 says: May 12, 2014 2:23 PM

    Did the Vikings release this story ? Lol NO ONE wanted Teddy except for Vikings.

  32. rosstuckershair says: May 12, 2014 2:24 PM

    There is no guaranteed franchise QB in this year’s draft. As close as you will come to a guarantee is this, whoever the Vikings draft at QB will be a bust.

    Just look at their history…….

    Look at the Packers, Jones, Perry, Bulaga, Sherrod, Harrell, Raji. I would shut up about busts in other teams selections

  33. idothis2 says: May 12, 2014 2:24 PM

    Mike Pettine should just legally change his name to Unnamed Source…

  34. joewilliesshnoz says: May 12, 2014 2:27 PM

    What’s the difference ? It’s still Cleveland, they might as well have drafted Mr. Magoo.

  35. braddavery says: May 12, 2014 2:27 PM

    They will for a long, long time be kicking themselves for not drafting Bridgewater over Manziel.

  36. bobnelsonjr says: May 12, 2014 2:40 PM

    Manziel is raw and will take a couple of years to mature into a quality QB. There is great potential on the field and intangibles like leadership, will to win, and marketing.

    The other QB does not have much upside and very poor intangibles. A story like this supposedly makes the lesser fan base feel that there QB is almost as good as Manziel.

    Manziel is loved and accepted by Browns fans while the other guys are worried about their pick.

  37. farmmbig says: May 12, 2014 2:42 PM

    They may deny it now— I bet they regret it later!

  38. gary2525 says: May 12, 2014 2:47 PM

    Who really cares anymore. Instead of watching the comedy show just watch what the browns r doing or have done and u will get a good laugh

  39. bigbamboom1 says: May 12, 2014 2:48 PM

    I think Bridgewater, Manzeil and McCarron will end up being the big QB successes out of this draft. And I predict their teams will eventually become title contenders for NFL Crown. Some of it will be fate IMO. And some will be just falling to the right team at the right time. I think Johnny Football will win that Browns job as Hoyer rehabs. And if Ponder in Minnesota or Dalton in Cincinnati get injured or falters. They’ll both lose their jobs IMO.

  40. filthymcnasty1 says: May 12, 2014 2:57 PM

    Watching the Browns and Vikings try to solve their QB woes is like watching guys play Russian Roulette with fully loaded pistols.

  41. smcswaw1982 says: May 12, 2014 2:59 PM

    Bridgewaters hands are ridiculously small… Wait until he is outdoors in Minny this fall in the cold and snow… He wont be able to hold on to the ball…

  42. Norseman says: May 12, 2014 3:02 PM

    There once was a QB in Kentucky
    Who prior to pro day was plucky
    But he fell in the draft
    ‘cause the media’s daft
    And the Minnesota Vikings got lucky

  43. Norseman says: May 12, 2014 3:07 PM

    It should also be mentioned that Tony Grossi spoke with Ray Farmer before the draft and he favored Bridgewater. It was after that conversation that the $100,000 analysis the Browns paid for – citing Bridgewater as the best QB in the draft – was published.

    It was also abundantly clear Haslam favored Manziel over Bridgewater.

    So why would Farmer draft Manziel over Bridgewater if it wasn’t for Haslam ?

  44. Norseman says: May 12, 2014 3:11 PM

    Regarding Bridgewater’s small hands:

    They’re about the same size as Aaron Rodgers’ hands (an eighth of an inch smaller). Seems to me he’s done alright throwing in cold weather.

  45. giantjag says: May 12, 2014 3:12 PM

    So the homeless guy was the tiebreaker?

  46. dws123 says: May 12, 2014 3:13 PM

    Maybe the Vince Young Steakhouse is looking for a busboy.

  47. ballboy48 says: May 12, 2014 3:15 PM

    Tony Grossi is still mad that he got axed from Cleveland’s Plain Dealer. This guy is always trying to stir up something that’s not there. Pretty soon, the Browns may not let him near the team.

  48. heymister24 says: May 12, 2014 3:20 PM

    QB’s have good pro days and average pro days, but nobody has a BAD pro day except for gloveless ted bridgewater. Jon Gruden said he would take bridgewater off his board after that pro day, that’s how stunning bad it was.

  49. tremoluxman says: May 12, 2014 3:35 PM

    So glad Minnesota passed on Mr. “It’s All About Me”. Twice.

  50. granadafan says: May 12, 2014 3:51 PM

    I so want to believe this story is true.

  51. logicaldawg says: May 12, 2014 3:52 PM

    This is a load of garbage, thrown out there to fuel the continuing national media hatred of the Cleveland Browns, and to trigger the Pavlovian comment reflex we have continually observed from fan haters as well.

    Keep hating, haters.

  52. coachkilla6 says: May 12, 2014 4:00 PM

    The Browns have enough on their plate defending the bust of a QB they did draft. They shouldn’t have to defend the bust they let Minnesota take.

  53. uglydingo says: May 12, 2014 4:20 PM

    Maybe they can find the discarded Browns draft card with Teddy Bridgewater’s name in the trash. This sounds like a task for Tony Grossi.

  54. banlarson says: May 12, 2014 4:21 PM

    We all know neither one of those QB’s will amount to much. MN will just end up paying theirs a small amount less before they are released. We are 4 years away from no longer having the likes of Brady, Manning, Brees, and Rogers. Then the league will be full of QB’s who “manage” their teams, so the QB won’t matter and RB’s will once again rule the day.

  55. ctown66 says: May 12, 2014 4:25 PM

    hoyer vs johnny.. pre season should be fun

  56. th56 says: May 12, 2014 4:34 PM

    Bottom line is that the Browns have to create some excitement and sell seats. Truth is no one really knows with any certainty what QB will work out, so if things are close, why not go with the guy that will sell seats. I can easily see the owner overruling the staff on this. I also heard that Browns season tickets sales are going through the roof.

  57. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain says: May 12, 2014 5:10 PM

    This just in: Browns deny all rumors regardless of source or content!

  58. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain says: May 12, 2014 5:13 PM

    This is all nonsense. We all know the homeless guy story is legit, so Haslam didn’t need any time to make up his mind. He was licking his lips when Dallas passed at #16!

  59. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain says: May 12, 2014 5:14 PM

    This is just the Factory of Sadness doing what the Factory of Sadness does.

  60. brownsmakemecrazy says: May 12, 2014 5:14 PM

    These are the Browns we are talking about. Look how bad they have been the last 15 yrs. of course this story is true

    There is also another Tony Grossi story that said the Browns didnt even have any WRs handy for Johnny Footballs private workout. Grossi is reporting that he was throwing passes to Kyle Shanahan.

    Considering their idiot GM didnt take a WR knowing his best WR was going to be suspended for the year of course these reports are true

    Grossi has no reason to make the story up. He has nothing to gain. The Browns create their own problems by being stupid

    I mean what dumb owner would say a homeless man said take Manziel. Only the Browns can screw up something so simple

  61. sandersmarcus10 says: May 12, 2014 5:14 PM

    Who cares, does it really matter at this point? I gotta get a job with this article people because they write anything and everything.

  62. brownsmakemecrazy says: May 12, 2014 5:19 PM

    What dumb GM wouldnt take a WR in one of the deepest WR drafts in recent year and ITS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST HOLES

    THIS IS THE REASON THE BROWNS HAVE LOST DOUBLE DIGITS THE LAST 6 seasons. They are stupid!

  63. ejmam1 says: May 12, 2014 5:27 PM

    In other news, Browns deny any quarterback that was on their roster for the last 15 years.

  64. mudmandenny says: May 12, 2014 5:31 PM

    Adam Grossi meet Tony Schefter. Wait I got that wrong, or did I?

  65. macneil4025 says: May 12, 2014 5:47 PM

    I wonder what will happen when Johnny Football realizes he will spend the next 5 years of his life in Cleveland Ohio, sounds more like a prison sentence then the greatest day of your life. I can’t imagine this going wrong at all with a diva like Johnny and a new head coaching staff, have fun Browns Fans!

  66. pabrownsfan says: May 12, 2014 5:51 PM

    Bottom line in my mind. Does Grossi have an axe to grind? Maybe, but the Plain Dealer was wrong. For all you fans from other teams that do not know what happened Lerner/Holmgram had the guy fired for speaking his mind and making them look bad. Ask any true Browns fan what the two did for the team. So if he does have an axe to grind I understand why.

  67. shadylamp says: May 12, 2014 6:24 PM

    What makes the story even more laughable is the fact that nobody even knows if that is a good thing or a bad thing until either one of these guys get on the field.

  68. seahawkfanfrom1970s says: May 12, 2014 6:32 PM

    If I were an NFL GM, I TOO would deny that I was about to draft the player that the Vikings eventually took. After all, there are 31 professional caliber teams in the NFL, and then there is the Minnesota Vikings.

  69. thetooloftools says: May 12, 2014 6:40 PM

    IF Haslam really did have them change the name, then more power to him.
    Cleveland doesn’t blow up over Teddy, Cleveland EXPLODES over JFF.
    I hope he made the call. It’s about merch and $ and not really how great he plays.

  70. gainofivefirstdown says: May 12, 2014 6:53 PM

    Reading about the Browns is getting to be like reading a gossip column. It always has been but it’s like, every story is about some sort of “misdirection”, like a spy novel. You know?

  71. brownsclown says: May 12, 2014 6:57 PM

    Did Grossing get his information via Twitter?

  72. afcnorth54 says: May 12, 2014 7:33 PM

    As with many of these stories, why is this even a story? They took who they took and we’ll find out in about 3 years if they made the right choice. As a fan, I don’t care who they almost picked, even if it’s true.

  73. jollyjoker2 says: May 12, 2014 7:35 PM

    A small framed guy, with small hands that couldn’t pass his pro day…Boy, I can’t wait for this disaster to come up to Minnesota and lead the Vikings down the field in 10 degree weather.

  74. th56 says: May 12, 2014 7:58 PM

    Norseman says:
    May 12, 2014 3:02 PM
    There once was a QB in Kentucky
    Who prior to pro day was plucky
    But he fell in the draft
    ‘cause the media’s daft
    And the Minnesota Vikings got lucky
    —————————————–
    Always appreciate a good effort.
    You “Your team sucks” people could learn from this.

  75. yesrowntreeyesgrosvener says: May 12, 2014 8:26 PM

    But doth they protest too much, Mr. Smith?

  76. campcouch says: May 12, 2014 8:38 PM

    wow,who cares. both QBS are a wash,except Manziel brings in money and press. I love inside information that gets leaked by the janitor.

  77. vikingapologist says: May 12, 2014 8:40 PM

    Here is the bottom line! I have wanted Teddy for a lomg time! It is painfully obvious my Vikes struggle when selecting a QB. If I were GM, I would have taken TEddy, and used a later Mccaron or Fales. Both of which I think will end up being solid QBs in this league!
    Here is the Best part! Even if Teddy were a bust, we traded our second and a 5th to move up, not Exctly a ton! The vikimgs still had a killer draft once again! Rick Speilman is proving to be an elite GM, now we have the coaching to back it up! The vikimgs will be a good team the next few years, the future is Bright! Skol!!!! I, however, thing Teddy Bizzle will be a great QB, his ability to read D’s and his accuracy are exactly what we need! AD will have minimum 2100 yards this year

  78. deerhuntinfool71 says: May 12, 2014 8:55 PM

    Grossi is a stellers fan thru and thru! I wish they would hire him in pittsburg so i never have to see his arrogant smug looks again.

  79. jollyjoker2 says: May 12, 2014 9:25 PM

    Viking apologist —- Even if Bwater is a bust? you have tons of guys and holes to fill on your team with solid college and skill ….then you go after a guy your not sure of? Is this a ponder redo..Tavaris, Webb, fumblepepper, the guy from philly, tampa, etc. etc etc. getting old get throwaways and maybesssss.

  80. ajzinnecker says: May 13, 2014 2:07 PM

    Who cares who wanted who? I’m glad the Browns took Johnny! He’s a riskier pick vs. a polished pocket QB like Bridgewater. 70% of Johnnies highlights are QB runs and that doesn’t last in the NFL. Also his passes are into triple coverage, again something that doesn’t work in NFL. Johnny Football is also a spoiled rich kid who gets money from his parents. If he doesn’t last in the NFL, so what? He is already rich. He has nothing to work for. As a Vikings fan I don’t know if Bridgewater will work either (no body knows if any of these QB’s will so stop acting like you know). I just know the way Johnny plays, his attitude, and his characters are far more risky when it comes to transferring and lasting in the NFL.

  81. fairweatheridiot says: May 17, 2014 5:19 PM

    Title [Fixed]: “Browns Nearly Make a Good Decision”

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